The Grand Junction Off-Road mountain-bike race is back for year two and with it comes another good music series. Four bands will play this Saturday (8/30) on Main Street in Grand Junction. Local crews Poke Squid and The Williams Brothers Band will play, along with Wild Party, and headliner Jamestown Revival.
Speaking of Jamestown Revival, check out this Q&A from fellow Sentinel contributor Melinda Mawdsley. The band talks about childhood friendships, music influences, and moving from Austin Texas to California. Read the full interview here ahead of Saturday's free concert or listen to their music and watch more videos of the band here.0 comments
The Reverend Horton Heat is back in town tonight playing the Mesa Theater and Club with Pinata Protest and The Tankerays. Now if you are a Rev fan or just a fan of musicians and the gear they use then check out this blog entry I put up last time they came through town. It's Jim Heath talking about the gear he uses on stage including his custom Gretsch hollowbody and his Gretsch Executive amp.0 comments
I am constantly surprised by Grand Junction, in a good way.
At times, it can feel like a cultural wasteland, but every once in a while something or someone enters the picture, changing my whole perspective, reminding me that there are hidden gems to be discovered here, if you look hard enough.
In the case of this column, that gem is Taylor Riley. The guy has been hiding in plain sight and his influence on the local music scene is profound, but I’ve only just discovered what a treasure his talent is.
Riley’s most public face may be behind the drum kit with his death metal band Exussem, but it is behind a mixing board where he is making the biggest impact.
As the owner of the Fusion Audio Solutions recording studio, Riley has recorded and/or mastered audio for a literal who’s who list of local musicians.
Shotgun Hodown. Augmented. The Tankerays. Zolopht and the Destroyers. Tight Thump. Obtuse. Murder Café. Showcage. Gnar. Sole Aggression. Jack + Jill. Dinosaur the Musical. The list goes on and on and on.
“Before a few years ago, I never would have thought there was such a vibrant presence to our obviously prospering music scene,” Riley said. “Just when I thought I’d seen it all, another person or group succeeds in completely surprising me.”
As you can see, Riley has worked with a very diverse selection of local musicians. He is quite unique in that way.
From the outside looking in you may think that a death metal drummer would have no place working on a reggae album with Zolopht or a rockabilly album with The Tankerays. Yet it works because Riley himself is as diverse as the musicians he works with.
Like many people, he first learned how to play music in school, specifically orchestra.
“I actually learned violin as a first instrument and kept with it for over seven years in school. From there, I learned electric guitar and bass. After playing both in numerous bands, I eventually decided to teach myself how to play drums. I haven’t put down my sticks since,” he said.
Being a multi-instrumentalist and playing in a number of bands has helped Riley develop a well-rounded skill set and taste perfectly built for running a recording studio. You also could say it’s in his blood.
It was a push from his mother and father that gave him direction. They were both home recording enthusiasts and, after recording his seventh-grade garage band, really inspired Riley to do it himself.
“From then, I started making my own recordings of anything I could with old tape players. My high school band teacher first introduced me to digital recording and I basically soared from there.”
Walking through his studio, it’s clear Riley has come a long way since those initial lo-fi analog recordings. Crammed into two north Junction bedrooms is more sound equipment than I’d ever know what to do with. Couple that with 15 plus years of recording experience, and Riley can make anyone sound good.
Word is starting to get out too about the work Riley has done. More than a few local bands have raved about his work, and it has opened plenty of doors for Riley and his studio.
“Very soon I will begin new projects with Jack + Jill, as well as a few others that I have waiting in line,” Riley said. “I also will be doing some mixing and mastering for Sworn Us Under and Shotgun Hodown.”
Riley also hinted that a live CD/DVD project for a rather big local group may be coming down the pipeline. Though he wouldn’t say which band it was, it’s another project sure to build up Riley’s reputation.
Listening to what Riley has helped local bands record, it’s obvious that this gem isn’t going to stay hidden for much longer. In fact the secret may already be out.24 comments
1) So you play drums in the death metal band Exussum yet Billy was telling me you consider you best instrument to be violin. Stylistically, those two instruments couldn’t be further apart. Is there one instrument or style that gives you more satisfaction?
Lately, my big thing has been drumming. I really enjoy performing in front of crowds, and doing so behind a drum kit gives me the most adrenaline, by far. For me, playing the drums provides the most improvisational possibilities of any other instrument I’ve learned.
2) As a musician how would you describe yourself?
Developed and diverse. I’ve always strived to be as “well-rounded” as possible. No sense in only concentrating on one particular instrument or sound.
3) What other instruments do you play?
I actually learned violin as a first instrument and kept with it for over 7 years in school. From there, I learned electric guitar and bass. After playing both in numerous bands, I eventually decided to teach myself how to play drums. I haven’t put down my sticks since.
4) Fusion Audio Solutions has recently recorded albums for the Tankerays, Zolopht, Tight Thump. It also looks like you’ve done work for Dinosaur The Musical, Obtuse and for your band Exussum. What are the challenges of recording so many different styles of music?
The most difficult thing has been maintaining a standard and continuing to exceed it. Everyone has their own “sound” that they want in their recordings. My goal is to embrace that aspect of the material, while adding my own, patented, “sparkle”.
5) Locally who else have you worked with?
Coffin Hammer, Angelic Deficiency, Saleska, RWRLD, Scar Struck, Horizon No.6, Sole Aggression, Gnar, Man-Down, Nick Pants, Murder Café, Josh Roseberry, Showcage, Augmented… to name a few.
6) You’ve worked closely with a number of local bands. On the local level what are you seeing from these bands?
A huge range of talent for sure. Before a few years ago, I never would have thought there was such a vibrant presence to our obviously prospering music scene. Just when I thought I’d seen it all, another person or group succeeds in completely surprising me.
7) Who’s impressing you in the studio or out live?
First thing that comes to mind: Zolopht. They have all been amazing in and out of the studio. I’d say Tight Thump and Ancient Wind (from Glenwood) both have the best guitar solos, hands down. There are a few individuals as well that stand out. Another opportunity for me to hear Will Whallen would be awesome, since I was quite impressed when I first heard him at a random Jam at Baron’s. I’m highly anticipating the next time I have the opportunity to record guitarist Drew Fields. His high level of expertise and professionalism still set him apart from so many other musicians.
8) What do you make of the local music scene here?
It’s great here. We have more going on in this town than I can keep track of. There are so many great musicians in our area, more of which seem to be of the professional, touring type, nowadays. I have observed countless bands rise and fall around here. Luckily, as one band is reduced to mere memories, several others are later born in its place.
9) Where do you see it going in the future?
I predict it will be on the same path it currently is, which is that of its own. The musical flavors of the Western Slope always mix perfectly into something unique, something bold, and something tasteful. No salt required.
10) What’s the biggest misnomer and pet peeve you hear about the GJ music scene?
It can get under my skin when I hear someone say “there aren’t any good bands around anymore”. For them, I recommend getting out and watching some good live shows in town. There is a constant flow of live performances in the downtown area helping to showcase up-and-coming talent.
11) I've personally been impressed with your work. The Zolopht album sounds really great. How did you get into recording?
My Mother and Father were both home recording enthusiasts for a time while I was growing up here. After my Father had made a few initial recordings of my 7th grade garage band, I had a huge interest to do it myself. From then, I started making my own recordings of anything I could with old tape players. My High School band teacher first introduced me to Digital Recording and I basically soared from there.
12) How long has Fusion Audio been around?
I have been doing this particular business solidly for about 2 ½ to 3 years now. Before then, it was basically more hobby than profession. Ultimately, I can say I have 15+ years of recording experience. And in my case, that accounts for exactly half my life at this point.
13) Do you have a philosophy or process you try and stick to when recording?
Everything is best built around consistency. Working in an organized, systematic fashion is the key to superior results. After all, anything worth doing is worth doing well.
14) What’s your goal with Fusion Audio Solutions?
To take what I do and what I am capable of as far as possible. I want to be remembered for my contributions to our local musicians. My dream has always been to make ones vision a reality through sound.
15) You’re a musician, a sound engineer (is that what you would call it?), and you host a radio show, The Impaler’s ‘Rise of Brutality’, on KMSA. That’s a lot of different projects to take on at once. How do manage to give each aspect the time and energy they deserve?
I recently took the steps to become self-employed through my entrepreneurships. One obviously being that of the audio recording world, and the other being more of the computer repair persuasion.
16) Are you working on any new projects that you are particularly excited about?
Always. Right now, I am extremely excited to be in the final stages of completing full length albums for Exussum and Ancient Wind. Very soon I will begin new projects with Jack & Jill, as well as a few others that I have waiting in line. I also will be doing some mixing and mastering for Sworn Us Under and Shotgun Hodown. There perhaps may also be talks of an epic LIVE CD/DVD project next month for a rather big local group…
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